THE AGE OF STRESS It’s hard to imagine kids as anything but carefree, happy, and eager to explore the world around them. However, children experience stress just like adults do, which can severely impact their typically cheerful dispositions. Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, now is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with tools and information that can help you alleviate your child’s stress. WHAT ARE THEIR STRESSORS? Any number of everyday factors can lead to stress, and stress can plague anyone who feels overwhelmed. Toddlers and young children going to day care or school for the first time may experience separation anxiety due to being apart from their parents. Older kids and teenagers may feel mounting social and academic pressure. Even something as simple as overhearing loved ones arguing or seeing a sad news report can add to a child’s stress levels. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS STRESSED? When a kid is stressed, they will exhibit odd behavior and even undergo physical changes. Depending on your child’s age, watch for mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, trouble focusing, or withdrawal WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR BLACK BELT? Many of our students here at Olson’s Martial Arts Academy are constantly surrounded by other students wearing their black belts. While it might seem like a lot of people have earned their black belt, only a small percentage of individuals actually have. Around 2% of the population has practiced martial arts, and of that number, far fewer have trained for and obtained a black belt. Receiving a black belt might seem like a normal step, especially when you’re constantly training and talking with the handful of students who have them. But reaching this status is admirable and something to be very proud of. Training for a black belt requires a lot of time, energy, and diligence at least twice a week, month after month, for years. This journey often takes between 3–5 years of hard work via increasingly challenging steps. The higher you go, the more difficult forms you have to memorize and perform. However, there might be other difficulties to face along the way too. Over that length of time, some things can get in the way, which might deter motivation. An injury or life-changing circumstance might pull someone away from martial arts. But when a student continues past those obstacles with the determination to press on, they realize they can overcome whatever is in front of them, and that builds confidence.
HELPING YOUR CHILD OVERCOME ANXIETY
from the people around them. According to KidsHealth.org, younger children may also pick up habits like twirling their hair or sucking their thumb, while older kids may start to bully others, lie, or rebel. CAN I HELP REDUCE THEIR STRESS? According to KidsHealth.org, good nutrition, proper rest, and healthy attention are great ways to help kids manage their stress. Set time aside each day to talk and spend time with your children; talking about worries will reduce or relieve anxieties. If you know about an upcoming stressful situation, like a school exam or a health checkup, prepare your child by studying with them or talking to them about what to expect.
Don’t stop here. For more tools and information regarding stress reduction in children, visit KidsHealth.org or contact your doctor.
Amanda Olson, our founder and an eighth-degree black belt, is incredibly proud every time a student receives their first black belt. “I have some people who put on their black belt for the first time and start to cry. This is an incredible moment for them, and we want to make sure it’s special for them and celebrate with them as much as we can,” Amanda says. When we think of our black belt students, we think of someone who is disciplined, hardworking, and willing to overcome whatever life throws at them to reach their goals. Our teachers are so proud to have watched our students grow, and we are all here to help anyone achieve a black belt of their own.
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